The net has seen some great P2P sources come and go, even in its relatively short lifespan. Here is a small homage.
What happened to?
This wasn't my first P2P love, but it gets high praise because it was so easy to use. My Grandmother could have downloaded all the porn she wanted from this great piece of software. Like so many of its counterparts it ultimately succumbed to outside pressure, and literally stopped letting people log on one day. Naturally people moved to the next program, and that was that. Ciao iMesh. This still exists in some "legal" re-branded form that no one pays a blind bit of notice to.
WinMX to me was the most natural replacement for the original Napster. Whilst Napster was groundbreaking, Winmx benefitted from the experience was a vastly superior better program. Lightweight, quick and good quality results. It was a sad day when these guys got chased out of town in 2005. As ever the "community" bickered, released two rival patches, bickered some more, and now this program is near enough un-used.
I searched high and low for the original "skull" logo, but all I could find was the new girly bunny looking logo. I chose to include the screen above instead for a representation of this true, classic P2P. This ground breaking, industry shaking piece of software went global in a matter of weeks. I remember coming home from school, demonstrating this to my dad by downloading "The Offspring - Pretty Fly For A White Guy", and him being awestruck and certain that somehow, somewhere, someone could bill us. It was rough around the edges, but has changed the shape of the way media is shared and probably how the music industry treats its consumers. I still look back fondly at little nuances that you don't get now. For instance: the ability to cancel a song someone was downloading from you at 99%, thus ruining it...crazy. Napster has been around in various forms since being sued and closed, but it exists merely in brand. The real Napster is long dead.
Morpheus was big. In the Napster aftermath and fallout there were obviously many competitors vying for the throne. Morpheus took centre stage for a while offering its large user base probably one of the best user interfaces at the time. Don't forget that this was a community previous lavished with all of the usability afforded by Napster. Morpheus was slick and I remember it being quick. Quite how I thought getting the max out of my 5.5kbps modem was quick is a point I will leave you to mull. Nonetheless, I remember being very sad the day that Morpheus didn't want to play anymore.
This is probably the only one of the list I really disliked. There was always something about Kazaa that wasn't quite right. On a P2P level it was fantastic, don't get me wrong. But, it was heavily laden with viruses, trojans etc. I got my education in avoiding tactics using this program in the early days, and it was funny as you scrolled through the results mentally noticing "virus...trojan.....virus....ah Tenacious D". The other gripe I had was that this was the first attempt to monetise the whole P2P thing. So there there were hurdles to jump with adware, which was just emerging at the time, adverts...I didn't like it aside from it's primary purpose suffice to say!
Suprnova was the first big Bittorrent website. Huge in fact. It was so good even pre-2004 that if you were to launch it today it would do as well, that is probably what differentiates it from the above list. Suprnova looked essentially like Mininova did in 2008 and was naturally the focal point of an expanding P2P community. This drew attention from "ze authorities" who decided to make an example of the site in order to try and quell the rapid emergence of Bittorrent tracker sites. This was one of the original sites to get harassed for not actually hosting the content, previously a safe haven, and ultimately collapsed because of legal pressures. Relaunched under various guises that were not the same, Suprnova is greatly missed but was as important a landmark as Napster was back in the 1990's.